Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Empress Miniatures to stock Skirmish Sangin Books

Radio Dishdash Publishing (RDDP) is proud to announce that Empress Miniatures will now be stocking our books in the UK. 

This is just the beginning of what we hope to be an exciting collaboration between the two companies. We have in the works many ideas and plans to bring out new products in the new too distance future.

Colin Phillips (RDDP)
– “We have been looking to find the right partner in the UK for along time. Our recent trip to attend Salute gave us the opportunity to discuss ideas with Empress and we found a lot of common ground”

Paul Eaglestone (Empress)“We knew the Sangin Guys from the forums for a number of years. Then they asked to use our miniatures for the photography of Skirmish Sangin and they look absolutely fantastic. They are as passionate about modern wargaming as we are, so then it was just a matter of finding the right project for us all to work on.”

Watch out for more news in the near future.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Pooch- Australian SAS Finished

Just to prove that I am actually painting soldiers, as well as having fun building cardboard MRAPs, here are some Australian SASR (Special Air Service Regiment) soldiers I finished recently.

They are from Empress Miniatures, and the full team of 6 is made up from their US Special Forces pack as well as a couple of single figures.

The sniper miniature is a single figure that used to be a freebie from them with a ruleset, but you can now buy it as a single figure. I didn't really like the head that it came with, so replaced it with one of the newer Auzzie helmets. Pretty simple really, but I like the figure a whole lot more now!

Enough for now, that sniper picture is really reminding me that I need a proper photography set up (natural light+desert coloured buildings = bright!)

What next? I have a few things I want to finish, so hopefully something soon....


Saturday, 24 May 2014

A word from Chris Bennett of the The Phalanx Consortium

We asked Chris from Phalanx Consortium to introduce himself as he is now running the USA side of Skirmish Sangin for us, you can buy US based products through here is what he wrote:

Greetings Everyone,

As the new North American distributor of the Skirmish Sangin line of rules and figures we wanted to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves to the Sangin community at large. The Phalanx Consortium was initially established as a tabletop miniatures accessory and figure design group made up of designers from across the US to fill a need that many game developers have in bringing their game system to life.

As our company has increased its client base the opportunity presented itself to add a distribution side to our business model specifically supporting small/start up game designers who might not have had the opportunity to establish distribution channels into the North American market.

In growing our business in this direction Colin and I began the distribution conversation back in January of this year and have been hard at work since then to establish production and publication capacity through our affiliated vendors as a licensed producer of the Sangin line. This means that each figure and book sold in North America is directly produce within the US which has considerable benefits for both companies as well as our customers. We also plan on supporting Sangin at regional and national conventions during the remainder of this year, with further expansion in 2015.

We look forward to having the opportunity to serve Radio Dishdash Publishing and the Sangin community now an in the future, with our commitment to representing both groups to the best of our talents and abilities. To all happy gaming!


Chris Bennett
Owner and Chief Designer

Monday, 19 May 2014

Skirmish Sangin now available in the USA

Radio Dishdash Publishing and The Phalanx Consortium are pleased to announce their direct distribution partnership for the United States and Canada for Skirmish Sangin and its related products including all current and future supplements, which includes their 28mm figure ranges. 

We are looking forward to a long and fruitful partnership between our two organizations built to foster growth of the Skirmish Sangin product line in North America.

Chris Bennett (Phalanx Consortium CEO) says
“Products are available now from with direct shipping from within the continental USA. This will save gamers money on shipping and we plan to support the game at a number of conventions each year. I believe this game has great potential and have been excited to see what the Radio Dishdash team has scheduled for this year.”

Skirmish Sangin currently has the main rule book Skirmish Sangin and Sangin Despatches No.1 in publication, as well as their initial range of 28mm figures. A range of Australians/New Zealanders sculpted by the multi-talented eBob. They have a range of 28mm Taliban in works that will be released shortly.

Colin Phillips (Radio Dishdash CEO) said. “2013 was a great initial year for us and we continue to grow our product range. I was impressed with the business case that Chris put to us and can’t think of any one better than the Phalanx Consortium to help bring our products to the United States and Canada market.”

So its now never been easier to get your copies in the USA and Canada.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Peter Tann - Attack State Red Review

Attack State Red

Well Peter has done it again he has reviewed one of my favourite books on the Afghanistan conflict  a great review that I am sure you'll all enjoy, well done Peter and keep them coming.

For my second review I am going to look at Attack State Red by Colonel Richard Kemp and Chris Hughes. The book follows the soldiers of the Royal Anglian Regiment during their tour of Afghanistan in 2007, following the 'break in' battles of the previous year. Part of this tour was also covered by the Ross Kemp documentary Ross Kemp in Afghanistan (well worth a watch in its own right), and you could do a lot worse than read and watch the two in tandem.


The authors set out to give a 'soldier's eye view' of the conflict, and in this I think they have succeeded admirably. At times the action described is unrelenting, and the reader gets a real insight into the intensity, challenges and demands of the Anglians' tour of duty - leaving you breathless at the end!

I felt the book had a real 'cinematic' feel, which allows you to paint a vivid picture of the events in your mind's eye. Although the book does reference commanders, particularly at platoon and company level, the book is (for me) at its strongest when describing the soldiers and NCOs operating at section level. Kemp and Hughes let these men speak in their own voice and the reader gets a real sense of immediacy and of being 'present' as the action unfolds.


A perfect example of this is the action which opens the book, describing a company operation which breaks down into numerous platoon and section contacts (one of these has been the subject of an episode of the BBC documentary Our War - an absolutely superb series).

In the close terrain a section gets pinned down, other platoons manoeuvring to support find themselves engaged and then initiate their own counter-ambushes as Taliban try to infiltrate/outflank them, a sniper protecting the Tac HQ uses his pistol to dispatch an insurgent (a feat he was to repeat later in the tour) and the CO calls in mortars whilst trying to co-ordinate his dispersed units' response. The authors convincingly convey the swirling, confused and hectic nature of combat, as well as the soldiers' own reactions, which include how they deal with the sad news that one of their comrades, injured in the battle, later dies after being evacuated.


There is a wealth of information in here for Skirmish Sangin players. What emerges is how often even large company operations break down into platoon and section engagements, so many of the actions are easily transferred the tabletop. So, you could game the ambush and extraction of Sgt Holmes' section in the opening chapter of the book, or the close 'urban' fighting experienced by the Anglians in the narrow, twisting alleys and compounds they often find themselves in.

Another account that I found intriguing is of events later in the tour when, due to R&R, illness and injury, a platoon is reduced to 3 sections of 4 or 5 men, rather than the usual 8. This might make for an interesting alternative 'platoon' action, where the platoon in question is at about half strength and opens up some interesting command decisions (can your 5 man section put down enough fire to suppress the enemy?

Can you effectively close with the enemy with a 4 man assault section?). There are actions alongside ANA forces and their OMLT mentors, which throw up several 'combined arms' scenario ideas, as well as actions involving vehicles (mainly WMIKs, Scimitars and Vikings), including one major ambush on the outskirts of Sangin. Another interesting idea is a sniper led ambush of a Taliban unit, an interesting reversal of roles for the conflict in Afghanistan.

As you can probably tell, I am a big fan of this book. It is well written, gives an immersive account of combat 'on the ground' as experienced by the soldiers of the Royal Anglian Regiment, and is a veritable treasure trove of scenario ideas. Top notch!

Colin's Note:

So just to be clear one day Peter emailed me asking if I was interested in some book reviews on Afghanistan and as I always say "write something and we'll let you know" a lot of people ask but few people deliver. I am sure Pooch will vouch this is how he got involved. The rest as you can see is history. Peter's first review was excellent and he just keeps getting better. So if you fancy writing something for the blog, be it a scenario, an article, a review, basically anything just drop us a line.  We are always after new talent.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Lasercut Card Casspir

At Sangin HQ, we are always on the look out for cool new models. Many email conversations go back and forth every day, about this new miniature, or have we seen this or that. When Colin sent around a link to a company out of South Africa that was making laser cut card vehicles, I was incredibly curious to say the least! Now, I have built many plastic kits in my time, but building card aeroplanes was something I did as a kid, and I do definitely remember the card HMS Invincible that I got with a Quest magazine ages ago (wish I still had it to be honest!).

On to these card vehicles. The company Laser Cut Card are a South African based company, who make laser cut card products (clever naming on their part). Their products range from containers, buildings, right up to Warhammer 40k-esque guns and a selection of South African armoured vehicles.

The vehicle that particularly caught my eye was the Casspir. A 4x4, Mine Resistant Infantry Mobility Vehicle. With it's V-shaped hull and massive wheels it seemed like something which should be able to survive the wilds of Afghanistan! According to Wiki, the US have 68 of them, as well as the Buffalo EOD vehicle, which is a derivative of the Casspir. As to who (and if anyone)has deployed them in Afghanistan, and in what capacity, I am not totally sure. If anyone has any insider info, let me know!

What I do have, is this picture here,

Which is of a Casspir de-mining the area around Bagram Airbase. Now that Casspir in the image has steel wheels, and is specially designed to undertake de-landmining operations (driving round and blowing them up it seems), which is a bit different to the card-model, but I think it is not too much of a stretch that there are Casspirs used.

So armed with a sketchy concept about whether it had deployed in Afghanistan and all of the enthusiasm contained in a hyperactive puppy, I ordered myself a Casspir. Not knowing what to expect when shipping from South Africa, I was really happy to have immediate contact from the guys at Laser Cut Card, and had the Casspir a week later. Needless to say, I was super impressed.

It's here!
So upon opening the pack, I was greeted with multiple sheets of flimsy looking card, a small sheet of 3mm MDF pieces and some plastic tubing. This raised some questions about whether this was a good investment for me.
Not pictured: My uninspired and confused facial expression
All of the pieces on the card had been cut so that there was only a small tab of card keeping it attached to the frame, additionally the folds in the card have already been pre-scored, which was a definite bonus.

The instructions for the Casspir are on the Laser Cut Card website, I kept them open in front of me while I was working. The instructions are easy to follow, although a couple of times they skipped some simple steps. This wasn't a massive issue, as it was easy enough to figure out what needed to happen (for example they never said attach the cab to the passenger cabin, or to attach the front grill).  

Tools wise, you need a sharp knife (I used a scalpel with a fresh blade) and superglue. You will want a ruler as well later on. I suppose you could use PVA glue to assemble it, but Superglue was quick to set, and you don't want to be sitting there waiting for every join to glue, because it will drive you mad.Or madder, depending on how mad you were to begin with.

The assembly begins with the cab of the Casspir....
First side glued! And some nice product placement for Selley's.
The way Laser Cut Card have designed it is with two major pieces (the cab and the passenger cabin) which you then stick details to. 

Completed Cab, waiting for adornments
I would recommend patience when assembling these, the adage of "measure twice, cut (glue) once" definitely applies here, especially when fitting the rounded edges of the big pieces, or when lining up the window frames etc.

The embellishments are simple enough to attach, they have all pretty clear places to go. It is a bit fiddly to line up the window frames, but even if it is wrong, it is a simple matter of using the scalpel to remove it and have another go (which happened with me once or twice).

Cab with embellishments. Note it is missing the front grill, because I forgot to add it at this stage!
Once the Cab is assembled, it is on to the passenger cabin. Here is where I had my only disagreement with the kit- I could not for love nor money get the sides to line up nicely. I think there would certainly be a case for it being operator (my) error, rather than a design fault. The net result was that I was left with a 2mm gap in the cabin. 

The simple solution was to make up a long snake of greenstuff to putty over the gap. Not a big issue at all, and as I say, I think it was me doing something wrong, rather than there being an issue with the Casspir design.
Greenstuff covering (some of) my sins....
Once the shell of the passenger cabin is assembled, it is a pretty simple matter of attaching the window frames, doors, rifle ports, top hatches, suspension etc to round out the model.

One of the really interesting things for me, was the wheels. Basically the wheels are split into 7 discs each (with 6 wheels, that makes 42 wheel circles, plus wheel hub bits) the discs are attached in layers, which then form the whole of the wheel.

Rear wheels in progress, with discs about to be attached
This system is incredibly simple, and looks damn good when it is done. What might have looked like a dog's breakfast is saved by the fact that they have put tread on the wheels, basically it means that the joins are how it should look. I made sure to always assemble the wheels with the axle running through them, to help to line them up, but again, it was a simple matter to get them lined up and attached. I was getting good at the assembly by this stage, so that will have helped too.

With the Cab, Passenger Cabin and Wheels all done, then you have to put it all together. This basically involves cutting two axles of plastic tubing, as well as two pieces to be the differential. Which makes the underside look like this...

Good shot of how the wheels show tread, and the V-shaped hull too
With the wheels attached, the core model is complete!

The micky-mouse ears of the spare wheels entertains me....
The kit also comes with a couple of heavy machine-guns, again assembled using laser cut card and plastic tubing. Given the couple of Casspir pictures I have are unarmed, I decided to use a spare GPMG from an Airfix Landrover kit and mounted it on the top hatch, rather than using the heavy machine guns from the kit.

To be fair, the GPMG now looks tiny.....
 Worth noting also, is that the Casspir is a BIG vehicle. I figured given it is an MRAP, it seemed only right to compare it in scale to the excellent EOD team from Empress Miniatures which I finished recently....

The Casspir ain't small!
Now. I said that I was underwhelmed when I got my flimsy card sheets. And boy was I COMPLETELY WRONG TO FEEL LIKE THAT. I had to put that in capitals, because I have to emphasise how good the Casspir was to assemble. I did it over two nights, and it took about an equivalent time to making a plastic kit I think.

Assembly aside, on to the painting. I was a touch worried with how well painting card would go. I mused over whether to use some form of a sealant, but in the end, I used a simple black spray paint, then opted for an overall desert scheme like the rest of my US vehicles. I was tempted to paint it white, but thought my weathering skills would not be up to the task of doing it justice! I think I need to black line the model yet, but the paint has not done anything weird for being painted on card.

Below is Casspir compared against the Tamiya 1/48 Humvee and the Airfix 1/48 Jackal. The Casspir is a big vehicle (7m compared to the Jackal's 5m). I haven't done the actual measuring, but it looks maybe a touch big? Not terribly so, but it is a touch on the big side.

I have to say, the guys at Laser Cut Card have done a sterling service, I am thoroughly impressed. Don't do what I did and write off card as not being a durable material, the Casspir is well designed and has good structural strength, possibly owing to the shape of the model, but I want to give the Laser Cut Card guys all the credit for the design in creating what is a faithful representation of the Casspir, all in card!

As for me? I need to stop looking at their website. They have some great terrain (containers!) and some more South African vehicles (the Ratel 90 looks fantastic). I will definitely not be hesitating to buy more. 


Tuesday, 6 May 2014

COLIN - Beast of wars SALUTE 2014 Review

Not sure if everybody has seen this. Its worth watching all of it but check out from 29:36 for Skirmish Sangin it was nice to be interviewed, but more than a bit nerve wracking. Many thanks to Beast of War for taking the time to talk to us we really appreciate it and for Tim who sent them our way.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Dougie- British Paras continued

In case you were wondering, Dougie has not been idle. He is back, with a little update looking at his next project...

Well folks work has commenced on my second fireteam, same ORBAT as before: from left to right we have a “Tom” standing firing his Minimi, “Tom” with an SA80A2 and a stowed Vallon mine detector, Fireteam leader with SA80A2 and a “Tom” with an SA80A2/UGL combo.

Stonking figures from Empress!


Looking forward to seeing these "Toms" with some paint on them!